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Italian style

Italy is one of the leading countries in fashion design, alongside others such as France, USA, Great Britain, Germany and Japan. Fashion has always been an important part of the country’s cultural life and society, and Italians are well known for their attention of dressing-up well; “la bella figura”, or good impression, remains traditional Italian design became prominent during the 11th–16th centuries, when artistic development in Italy was at its peak. Cities such as Palermo, Venice, Milan, Naples, Florence and Vicenza started to produce luxury goods, hats, cosmetics, jewelry and rich fabrics. During the 17th-early 20th centuries, Italian fashion lost its importance and lustre and Europe’s main trendsetter became France, with the great popularity of French fashion; this is due to the luxury dresses which were designed for the courtiers of Louis XIV. However, since the 1951–53 fashion soirées held by Giovanni Battista Giorgini in Florence, the “Italian school” started to compete with the French haute couture, and labels such as Ferragamo and Gucci began to contend with Chanel and Dior. In 2009, according to the Global Language Monitor, Milan, Italy’s centre of design, was ranked the top fashion capital of the world, and Rome was ranked 4th, and, despite both cities fell down places in subsequent rankings, in 2011, Florence entered as the 31st world fashion capital. Milan is generally considered to be one of the “big four” global fashion capitals, along with New York City, Paris, and London; occasionally, the “big five” also includes Rome. Examples of major Italian fashion houses focused on both menswear and womenswear, but also accessories, are: Giorgio Armani, Bottega Veneta, Roberto Cavalli, Costume National, Brunello Cucinelli, Dolce & Gabbana, Dsquared2, Etro, Fendi, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, La Perla, Loro Piana, Marni, Missoni, Moncler, Moschino, Prada, Ermanno Scervino, Trussardi, Valentino, Versace and Tod’s to name a few. Examples of major fashion brands which are specialized mainly at womenswear (and also accessories for women) are Agnona, Laura Biagiotti, Blumarine, Alberta Ferretti, Giamba, Krizia, Max Mara, Miu Miu, Emilio Pucci, Sportmax, whilst luxury houses which focus only on menswear and accessories for men are Brioni, Canali, Caruso, Corneliani, Kiton, Stefano Ricci, Ermenegildo Zegna and Pal Zileri. Other luxury labels which are mainly focused on the production of leather goods such as accessories, especially shoes, are Aquazzura, Baldinini, Ballin, Rene Caovilla, Casadei, Alberto Guardiani, Loriblu, Bruno Magli, Vic Matié, Moreschi, Cesare Paciotti, Pollini, Fratelli Rossetti, Gianvito Rossi, Sergio Rossi, Santoni, A. Testoni, Giuseppe Zanotti design, while fashion brands or labels which produce primarily bags, totes, suitcases are Borbonese, Braccialini, Cromia, Furla, Gherardini, Mandarina Duck, Piquadro, The Bridge, Valextra and Zagliani. Italy also is home to many fashion magazines, such as Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair, Elle, Glamour, Grazia, Amica, Flair, Gioia. Other Italian accessory and jewelry brands, such as Luxottica (owner, amongst several luxury eye-wear brands, of Ray-Ban and Persol), Marcolin, De Rigo, Safilo, Damiani, Pomellato, Morellato and Bulgari are amongst the most important in the world.